Help Maria attend Neuroscience 2013 :)

My name is Maria Chavez and I am a 15 year old ALS researcher from Guatemala.

I've spent the past almost 2 years doing research on brain disorders and aging, mostly on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a devastating disease in which motor neurons (a type of nerve cells) die. Over time, ALS makes it hard to walk, speak, eat, swallow, and breathe. In most cases, death will occur within 3 to 5 years after symptoms begin. There are about 285,200 people with ALS, 16 of them die per day. There is only one drug approved for treating this disease and it only extends patients' lifespan for a maximum of 3 months.

A couple of months ago, after baking and selling 3,000 cookies (to pay for traveling expenses), I left my home in Guatemala and moved to the San Francisco Bay area, by myself, in order to start working at a lab. I've spent these months volunteering and taking classes at UCSF, writing a research proposal and talking to the top researchers and institutions in the field about the best way to advance ALS research, in order to find a cure as soon as possible.

A lot of the people I talked to suggested that I attend the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, which is the best Neuroscience conference in the world, and is taking place in San Diego on November 9-13 (about 48 hours from now). I tried several fundraising methods before today, but none of them worked (crowd-funding is my last resource...). I know crowd-funding this in less than 48 hours (need to book plane ticket and register before conference registration closes, plus find a place to stay during the conference) sounds like a crazy idea but I am still very determined to attend Neuroscience 2013.

(The money will be used for conference registration -$600, and plane ticket)

Thanks a lot for your help!
[email redacted]

(PS if I reach my goal, I will send everyone who contributes an email with the details about my experiences in the conference!)
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María Teresa Chávez 
Atherton, CA
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